Kidwelly Castle (Welsh: Castell Cydweli) is a Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth and the town of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

Kidwelly Castle
Carmarthenshire, Wales
Kidwelly castle whole.JPG
Kidwelly Castle
Kidwelly Castle is located in Carmarthenshire
Kidwelly Castle
Kidwelly Castle
Coordinates51°44′24″N 4°18′15″W / 51.73999°N 4.30424°W / 51.73999; -4.30424Coordinates: 51°44′24″N 4°18′15″W / 51.73999°N 4.30424°W / 51.73999; -4.30424
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Battles/warsRevolt of Owain Glyndŵr
Listed Building – Grade I

History and descriptionEdit

Kidwelly Castle, c. 1810.

The present remains of the castle include work from about 1114 to about 1476. Created as a defence against the Welsh, the castle fell to the Welsh several times in the twelfth century. Later in its history, it was unsuccessfully besieged by forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1403 with assistance from soldiers from France and Brittany who captured Kidwelly town. The castle was relieved by a Norman army after just three weeks. The gatehouse was extensively damaged and it was rebuilt on the instructions of King Henry V. It largely escaped involvement in the English Civil War.

The plan of the castle consists of a square inner bailey defended by four round towers, which overlook a semi-circular outer curtain wall on the landward side, with the massive gatehouse next to the river. The river prevents this from being a truly concentric plan, however a jutting tower protects the riverside walls, and the final plan is very strong.

Plan of Kidwelly Castle

The castle is relatively well-preserved, and is managed by Cadw.

The surrounding countryside is reputedly haunted by the headless ghost of Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, wife of the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Rhys, who was beheaded in 1136.[1]

In filmEdit

Kidwelly was used as a location for the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, appearing in the very first scene after the titles.[2] After the first view of King Arthur and Patsy, a very misty establishing shot shows Kidwelly as their destination. However, the following close up filming was done at Doune Castle in Scotland.

See alsoEdit

The castle in the 1890s, with the ruins partly overgrown

Further readingEdit

  • Kenyon, John R. (2007) [1986], Kidwelly Castle (4th ed.), Cardiff: Cadw, ISBN 978-1-85760-256-2


  1. ^ Ash, Russell (1973). Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. Reader's Digest Association Limited. p. 387. ISBN 9780340165973.
  2. ^ "Monty Python and the Holy Grail Filming Locations". British Film Locations. Retrieved 23 April 2016.

External linksEdit